Google upgrades silence critics
Web watchers are drooling today over Google's latest upgrades to Google Talk messaging and its RSS reader.
First, Google's RSS: Until now the year-old feed reader, which allows users to review on one page headlines from a variety of sources, has been widely panned - "partly because it really was bad," writes The Guardian, "and partly because it seemed like a display of arrogance."
Not so with the new release. "I am impressed," declares Read/Write Web. "It now has a look n' feel very much like Gmail, which I believe is a pointer to this product being prepped for mainstream promotion - and/or merged with Gmail."
Beyond upgrading the reader's look-and-feel, the new release could grow Google's audience for RSS readers, which remain largely a tool for sophisticated web surfers. "The Google team went to great pains to explain the use of RSS in the simplest terms ('your inbox for the web')," writes TechCrunch, noting too that Google has also released a demo video - a first for any company product.
Now for Google Talk: The upgrades bring the messaging service into the hyper-competitive world of voice-enabled instant messaging clients. Until now, Google Talk was available only to those with Gmail accounts. But the new version of Talk (disturbingly labeled "version 18.104.22.168"), is open to non-Gmail users.
In his recent article "Chaos by Design," Fortune's Adam Lashinsky notes that "Google has released at least 83 full-fledged and test-stage products -- none has altered the Web landscape the way Google.com did." While today's upgrades aren't likely to change that, the fast-and-furious release schedule is clearly keeping Google's momentum alive.
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